China now top export destination for most of US

Updated: 2012-08-09 02:39

By Tan Yingzi in Washington (China Daily)

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All but 15 of the 435 districts represented in Congress recorded larger numbers of goods sold to China than to other export markets in 2011, according to a leading business group.

The US-China Business Council, which represents US companies that do business with China, also found that in 418 of those 420 congressional districts, the growth in exports to the country hit triple digits between 2002 and 2011.

"Exports to China contribute to America's economic recovery and support good jobs for American workers.

"China is the third-largest US export market and continues to provide growing opportunities for US businesses, large and small," said the council's vice-president, Erin Ennis.

Canada and Mexico are the top two US export markets, largely due to their proximity to the United States and participation in the North American Free Trade Agreement.

From 2000 through 2011, US exports to Canada increased by $102 billion, followed by China ($88 billion), Mexico ($86 billion) and Brazil ($28 billion), the business council's report said.

To add jobs, President Barack Obama in January 2010 introduced a plan to double US exports by 2014, which will require annual growth of at least 15 percent on average for five straight years.

Tuesday's report by the council noted that China is the only large US export market that has exceeded this goal in the past two years.

The top three districts that export to China in 2011 were Washington state's 4th Congressional District ($3.3 billion), Louisiana's 5th ($3.1 billion) and Oregon's 1st ($1.5 billion).

Their chief exports include agricultural products, computers and electronics, chemicals, waste and scrap.

Broken down by state, Washington had five of the top 10 exporting districts, followed by Louisiana with three.

"Congressional districts in states as diverse as Colorado, Nevada, Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin also benefited from rapidly increasing exports to China — including exports of manufactured goods such as electrical equipment, machinery, computers and electronics, transportation equipment, and other high-end products," Ennis said.

Despite the rapid improvement, China was the destination of only 7 percent of US exports last year. For China, the United States is only the fifth-biggest source of imports, according to the US Trade Representative's Office.

To maximize exports, the US-China Business Council suggests in its report that Washington policymakers increase the capacity and resources of trade-promotion agencies such as the US Commercial Service, the US Export-Import Bank and the Trade Representative's Office while providing more support to local-level exchanges between the two countries.

The Chinese government has said that US controls on the export of technology products are the main constraint on trade with China.

Former US Treasury secretary Henry Paulson wrote in his recent report A New Framework for US-China Economic Relations that the US should be more open to Chinese investment, grant China market-economy status on a sector-by-sector basis and reform its outdated export-control system.

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